The White Crow


‘…a movie about this potent subject only needs to be halfway good to be watchable, and the legend of Nureyev just about carries the film…’

Ralph Fiennes clearly digs Rudolph Nureyev; for his third film as director, he’s attempted to capture the story of one of the world’s greatest dancers, which some success. Fiennes’ previous efforts (Coriolanus and The Invisible Woman) were a couple of real duffers, but with a leading man who certainly looks the part in Oleg Ivenko, The White Crow is more than passable as history.

The title refers to the Russian notion of otherness, of an individual who is separate from the pack; a black sheep in our parlance. Flashing back and forward to key moments in Nureyev’s life as he ponders defecting during a tour to Paris, Fiennes’ attempts to get under the waxen skin of the individual are fairly skin-deep; Nureyev rages at a toy-shop owner whose range of toy trains bore him, or glowers as his patient tutor (Fiennes) refuses to acknowledge his genius.

But things pick up rapidly in the final stretch when Nureyev faces a choice to defect to the West or return to his family in Russia; the facts are compelling in these scenes, and his choice is presented with some gravity. Anyone with a feeling for dance, and Nureyev in particular will be interested in these moments, and Fiennes doesn’t short-change us with the ballet scenes, which looks authentic and feel right.

But much of the presentation is dull, the photography of Russia and Paris is so grim and deliberately out of focus that it’s hard to watch, and David Hare’s script is dry and lacks the requisite insight. Yet a bit like the Queen biopic, a movie about this potent subject only needs to be halfway good to be watchable, and the legend of Nureyev just about carries the film.


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  1. Assuming this is not about his appearance in Valentino. Didn’t think Fiennes or his sister much to write home about in the directing business, too obviously arty. And am not a ballet fan though I do like modern dance, but he was an iconic figure so it would be interesting to find out more. Will bear in mind the nomenclatures you find upsetting.

    • Yes. Pesky, duffer and fuss-pot are three words banned from this blog while the Binstagram wars rage. I’ve just followed up my exclusive pic of my bins with a shot of one of my sheds, so it’s a busy day for me.

        • I cannot catch a break. No Sots have ever been pesky out in your neck of the woods. I’m so busy putting one fire out that another one combusts in front of my face.

  2. the Muppets would definitely have helped him defect. Of course, being so culturally sensitive, they would have referred to him as an european-caucasion-american crow, not that outdated, racist and crass “white” crow.

    and to answer your question. Because you are a cupcake, cupcake. I believe the context is similar to bunty, if that helps.

    • Oh, right, so it’s an insult, like snowflake? This from a man who hides behind his family’s bins, and humblebrags pics of his own legs with lowered socks? Really? is that where we are in 2022?

      • Exactly. Its the gastronomic version of the insult. Glad we got that cleared up.

        Of course, Mr Legs might be referring to something else by the use of the word “cupcake”. It IS a many layered word full of multiple meanings and textural context.

        • It was seeing the immodest display of Alex’s legs that prompted me to run a piece on Nureyev. PED inquiry? I think that’s the least we should do…

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